When recruiting, every employer sets out to find a highly skilled individual who will be the best fit for their current team and potential business projections, but when considering skills, they aren’t just looking for those specific, on the job, ‘hard skills’.
Employers today regard soft skills to be almost as vital as the learned skills and experience needed to perform the role.
These “soft skills” make the difference between a good employee and a great one, or a good leader and a great one. They contribute to the success of the individual and the firm, and can be taught, enhanced and perfected.
Some of the top skills that every employer is looking for are listed below, with an explanation of hard and soft skills and tips on how to enhance skill sets for employees.
Hard or Soft Skills?
Hard skills are the learned technical skills required to perform a certain job or particular role. For instance, a law degree, foreign language degree, or IT experience would all be considered “hard skills”.
Hard skills give you the ability and knowledge to do a particular job, they can be measured (based on your degree class or exam grade), are easily demonstrated (by performing the role), and can be earned through training and work experience.
Soft skills are more centred around personal qualities and characteristics which will often have been gained through life experience and work practise.
Soft skills are not job specific but are adaptable and transferable from one industry or role to another.
For instance, being a good, effective communicator is beneficial in any workplace whether you’re a lawyer, IT consultant, accountant or doctor.
While most higher-level positions require a degree qualification (the hard skills), many job ads ask for a multitude of soft skills alongside this.
These soft skills increase one’s capacity for leadership, collaboration, independence and resilience – making a well-rounded employee capable of managing people, coping with pressure and taking the initiative.
The core abilities, often shared by those who are successful in business and leadership roles, that are always in demand by employers include the following:
• Effective Communication – this includes the ability to concisely explain your own perspective, ideas or information, while also being able to listen effectively to other’s views. Effective communication is not only verbal language, but also non-visual, written and visual forms of communication.
• Emotional Intelligence – is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and understand the emotions of people around you. Emotional intelligence encourages healthy relationships through the ability to connect with others, overcome challenges and manage conflict.
• Resilience – resilience is our ability to bounce back. Failure, disappointment, conflict, stress, and so on, all have the potential to create a burden that must be overcome or dealt with. Our resilience levels dictate how well we cope and manage these issues.
• Cultural Awareness – multicultural workplaces are now the norm so it is vital that employees are able to integrate with colleagues from other cultures and backgrounds, or with different views and perspectives to their own. Understanding unconscious bias is the first step to cultural awareness.
• Leadership Qualities – when an individual has the skills listed above in abundance, they generally make a good leader who knows how to connect with their team; inspiring, supporting, and including them.
How to Enhance Soft Skills for Employees
Soft skills are often learned through experience. Life, work, family, and friends all help to form areas of our personality, highlighting ways we need to adapt or change, or showing us alternative perspectives.
But soft skills can also be learned through training.
Professional training providers can offer accredited courses for soft skills covering topics as diverse as managing challenging behaviour and cultural awareness. These courses offer effective solutions for enhancing skill sets, encouraging leadership qualities, and improving team dynamics.
Here at Creative Word we offer specialized legal training in partnership with the Dubai Legal Affairs Department, and our Creative Word Training site also offers courses, including E-Learning options, in soft skills, IT, finance and compliance and cultural awareness.
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